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Tips on Surviving the Office Party

Updated on August 1, 2013

santa girl and whiteboard


Surviving the Office Party

The Office party is a trap to tempt unwary employees into ruining their careers. The mistake that they make is to consider the works’ party as a social occasion, when it is actually a business function and, therefore, a formal occasion. Every company has an unofficial history, which is dotted with scandalous incidents that occurred at previous company parties. It details those employees, who mistakenly took the office party to be an informal social occasion. Those discovered, in the stationary cupboard, with another employee, someone else, whose evening ended with a visit to the hospital with glass injuries to delicate parts of their anatomy after having fun with the office photocopier, or the junior who danced on the office desks after enjoying the punch rather too enthusiastically. For some people, their behaviour at the office party can mean that they begin the New Year without a job.

You might think that you can get away without going to the works party at all. However, that would be a mistake. The office party is a chance for you to get your name and face known, for the right reasons, rather than the wrong reasons. If you do not go to the party, your superiors will note your absence and may believe that you are not a team player. You do not have to stay late, but you should attend. Arrive soon after the start, when everyone is fresh, mingle and talk to people, stay a reasonable time and slip away early.

Your Behaviour at the Office Party matters

Keep your dress smart, but conservative. This is not the occasion to wear your new very revealing party dress or low-slung jeans and a t-shirt bearing an offensive slogan. Inappropriate dress will draw comment, but probably negative rather than positive comments and will certainly be remembered when people are being considered for promotion.

When buying a secret Santa or Bran tub gift, do ensure that it is suitable for a work setting. Rude, tasteless gifts, in such circumstances, show a complete lack of judgment. Both your colleagues and your superiors will remember exactly who bought ‘that’ gift and will regard that person in a bad light in the future.

Although the office party is a business function, it is a mistake to talk shop all evening. People will think you boring and socially inept.

Alcohol is your enemy, rather than your friend, on business occasions. It removes inhibitions and can cause even the most discreet person to discuss confidential matters. Alcohol causes a complete lack of judgment, not wise in a business setting. It is better to just have one drink and keep topping it up with soda water.

Some employers and superiors see the office party as a way to observe employees in a semi-social situation. You could win, or lose, your next promotion at the office party. The office party is not an excuse to let your hair down as you would with your friends, so mind your manners. Piling your plate with food from the buffet at the office party, will ensure that you are remembered for the wrong reasons. Speaking without thinking could also ensure that you are not considered during the next promotion round.

Many employers and bosses use the office party to measure how employees might behave at business functions. Those in senior positions may have to attend social functions or entertain clients on the company’s behalf and people, who behave badly at the office party, could not represent the company adequately at such events. The company party is very important to your career and another arena where you can show your employer that you are a valuable employee, one worthy of promotion and success.


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    7 years ago

    This Hub will come in very handy when the holidays start. It contains some good tips on how to go to a company party without it turning into a disaster.


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